INDONESIA: Police told not to blame media for failure in terror raid

Coordinator for missing persons commission says police need to disclose information to the media and public and so must decide what to release

The Jakarta Post
Sunday, August 9, 2009

The police must have a filtering system for information that can be released to the public before blaming the media for its failure to capture suspected terrorists, experts say.

The coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Usman Hamid, told The Jakarta Post on Sunday the police had got it wrong when they had blamed the press for failing to capture the targets in what was supposed to be a part of a string of raids.

"The police must be careful in managing information."

Usman added the public needed to know what the police were doing and what they had accomplished.

"[The police] have to provide that information. Now they have to think which information can be disclosed and which can't."

National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri had previously said that a raid in Surakarta, Central Java, on August 8, had been a flop due to "aggressive media coverage".

The other two raids in Temanggung, Central Java and Jati Asih, Bekasi, on the other hand, were considered a success, with three terror suspects arrested and three others shot to death.

Antara state news agency also reported President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had criticized media that had disclosed information the police treated as confidential.

Usman, however, argued the media was not to blame because "it was the National Police's call to disclose the information; the media were just reporting it to the public".